So, you’ve made the decision to have ‘a treatment’. You’ve done some reading around Botox and fillers and are ready to take the leap. What now? How do you know who to trust? What questions should you ask (and are you allowed to ask them)? What treatment is right for you? What are the risks?

Choosing an aesthetics practitioner can feel like a minefield. There are loads of us out there so how do you pick us apart to find the practitioner that’s right for you?

Without getting bogged down in the ongoing ‘medic v’s beautician’ debate I must stand firm on this. If you’re looking to have what is essentially a medical procedure I would always suggest going to a medical professional. Makes sense, right?

The aesthetics industry is essentially unregulated and as a result, bulging at the seams with unqualified, inexperienced, uninsured injectors. You’ll see discounts and sales on social media, before and after pictures, and various other methods of tempting you in. While appealing, it’s important to remember that a cheap price tag or discounted offer may go on to cost you a lot more than a few quid.

Cosmetic Doctor, Dr Mervyn Patterson has released a very useful infographic to explain the issues and dangers of seeking dermal filler treatments via un-medically qualified Beauty Therapists as compared to medically trained Doctors and Nurses.

In it he explains the different levels of training and competence between Doctors/Nurses and Beauty Therapists and their corresponding abilities, or not, to deal with complications and adverse events. Plus, the regulation of the specialities.

Please see the infographic below.

While I admire anyone’s drive to start their own business it is vital that the differences between the a medic and a beautician are acknowledged. While I have worked with many non medics who are experienced, skilled injectors I stand by the mantra that medical procedures should be left to the medical professionals. I am regularly contacted by clients who have had an injectable with a non medic and are unhappy with the result. Just as I am regularly contacted by non medics asking for advice.

Aesthetic nurses raised a 100% in favour vote at the recent Journal of Aesthetic Nursing (JAN) Annual Conference to support the motion that they have no confidence in non-healthcare professionals providing cosmetic injectables. This positive stance was picked up by some media outlets and praised by the industry.

To that end, many are now also signing a petition asking for beauty therapists to be stopped from injecting fillers and toxins.

One comment in support of the petition summed up the sentiment displayed – "The general public deserves protection from unqualified people who have no idea of the risks they are encouraging unsuspecting clients to take."

So, what questions should you be asking yourself (and your practitioner) before you sign that consent form (and yes, there should always be a consent form)?

Is your practitioner medically trained?
i.e., Doctor, Dentist, Prescribing Nurse or Pharmacist

What is your practitioner’s experience?
i.e., how long have they worked in aesthetics? Have they performed this treatment before?

Can your practitioner prescribe?
If not, a prescriber should be present for your consultation.

What products does your practitioner use?
Results and safety vary enormously depending on the product used and how it has been stored.

Have you had a thorough consultation?
This process allows you and your practitioner to discuss expectations, medical history, treatment plan, risks and follow up.

What would you do in the event of a complication?
i.e., will your practitioner be available, and will they have emergency access to essential kit and drugs?

Is your practitioner accredited with Save Face?
Save Face is a government approved register which only lists practitioners once they have passed a rigorous 116-point assessment.

I have been an aesthetics practitioner for over 10 years and in that time, I have learnt loads, performed thousands of treatments and made many friends. When done well and safely, aesthetic treatments can have amazing results and offer an invaluable boost to one’s self confidence. Please, take the time to find a practitioner who will support you in your journey and never be afraid to ask questions.